Bees have amazing cognitive capabilities. The scouts explore and memorize the surrounding landscape and build up a highly detailed neuronal representation of their environment. Once back in the hive, locations are communicated to others by translating location information into body movements; a behavior known as the honeybee waggle dance. We investigated the bee dance in previous experiments with a honeybee robot and noticed that foragers exhibit preferences for certain nestmates in the process of decoding the dance. Do bees form stable “peer groups” throughout their lives? Do bees prefer dances that point to known locations or that offer known food qualities? How much previous experience plays a role in the process of becoming a dance-follower?
In the past, answering those questions was very laborious. Biologists would sit in front of an observation hive, record videos and review these videos manually over many weeks or months. We use the various tools Computer Science offers to develop a system which allows tracking every single individual inside the hive over their entire lifespan. We can study which bees are communicating with whom and which experiences in the past might have facilitated this interaction.
Tim Landgraf, Benjamin Wild, David Dormagen, Fernando Wario, Leon Sixt, Franziska Boehnisch, Dominik Dreiner, Sascha Wissmann, Andreas Berg, Jens Hagemeister
Former student members (thank you!): Simon Wichmann, Balduin Laubisch, Amjad Saadeh, Christian Tietz, Mareike Ziese, Alexander Rau, Benjamin Rosemann, Alexa Schlegel, Kadir Tugan, Jonas Piotrowski, Sascha Witte, Maria Sparenberg, Franziska Lojewski, Lukas Kairies
The North-German Supercomputing Alliance (HLRN) granted us storage and computing resources to process massive amounts of image data.